A common purpose? Social work students' social justice-related views in Finland and the island of Ireland

Paula McFadden*, Helena Blomberg-Kroll, Johanna Kallio, Christian Kroll, Claire McCartan, Niamh Flanaghan, Gloria Kirwan, Maria Pentaraki, Elaine Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

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Exploring social work students’ views to understand how equipped they are to pursue the social justice mission of the profession should be of central academic and practical interest. There are however surprisingly few empirical studies focussing on social work students’ views on social justice related issues from a comparative viewpoint. Such knowledge is thought to be of a wider international interest from a number of perspectives, including, e.g. social work education and student exchange, and, in a wider context, for the development of social work as a profession and for discussing the prerequisites for shared international notions of social work.
This article explores the views of social work students studying in different socio-economic contexts and welfare regimes in relation to some key aspects assumed to be vital for the profession. The results based on survey data from student cohorts in Finland (N=608) and the island of Ireland (N=279) support the general conclusion that there are important, similar patterns of motivations and understandings among the students, despite substantial differences in histories, welfare state developments, current policies and social conditions in various jurisdictions. The results are of interest to educators across countries internationally, and provide an important basis for future similar studies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbcad270
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Early online date11 Jan 2024
Publication statusEarly online date - 11 Jan 2024


  • Social work student survey
  • Island of Ireland and Finland
  • Poverty Perceptions
  • Motivations to Career
  • Social Justice


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